2024: A year of reimagining

BAR NONE - Ian Manticajon - The Freeman

Allow me to kick off 2024 with some 'unconventional' thoughts about what lies ahead. This year, I think, is just the beginning, setting the stage for extraordinary developments that will not only astound but also confound many people.

A caveat though --please view my thoughts as one of many perspectives. As a lawyer, Media Law teacher, part-time writer, and Design postgraduate, I don't claim expertise in predicting the future. What follows are my personal views, shaped by books I read and my keen interest in world events, history, and economics.

With the world moving full steam ahead in the post-pandemic era, 2024 is poised to be a year of reimagining every aspect of our lives. This transformation is driven by the emergence and eventual mainstreaming of AI and other digital technologies. Depending on your job status, societal and economic positioning, and your ability to adapt to the changes around you, 2024 could either be the start of things challenging or extraordinarily positive.

First, let's reimagine the concept of work. It's time to move beyond our traditional notions, rooted in the industrial and electronic ages. We must gradually accept that technology could, slowly or perhaps rapidly, reduce the need for 8-hour workdays in sweatshops, factories, and high-rise glass-paneled offices. As production becomes increasingly automated and AI-driven, we may achieve exponential growth and levels of productivity never seen before.

However, such reimagining is difficult if one's mindset is still anchored in analog thinking and trapped in the industrial-era paradigm. The most productive countries in the world per capita, including Luxembourg, Ireland, and the Scandinavian nations, are teaching us a lesson on productivity in the modern age. Their status is attributed to technology, brain power, and a balanced work-life approach --not to prolonged working hours that are actually now rendered pointless at this stage of human progress and in the context of climate change.

As we reimagine the concept of work, we are also reimagining our lifestyle. Fewer 9-5 jobs could free up time for us to pursue creative endeavors, the things we love, and our own projects and ideas. This shift would allow more time for life's essentials. Our work should increasingly focus on saving the environment and making the world a better place, not just for us but also for future generations. This is a crucial step away from our prolonged reliance on fossil fuels, a dependency that has fueled consumerism and contributed to environmental destruction.

Then, there's the urge of reimagining our economy and society. The concept of wealth redistribution has often been frowned upon in capitalist societies in favor of the market's 'invisible hand.' However, with an increasing wealth gap and capital becoming more concentrated among smaller groups relative to the world population, such a trend is a recipe for instability in any society.

We must accept the possibility that wealth needs to be redistributed beyond the paradigm of the capitalist concept of “more contribution equals more reward.” This is because, at some point, the accumulation of capital and its consequent power in a few hands no longer aligns with this ideal. Innovative welfare programs like the 4Ps might be expanded and the idea of “universal basic income” may be seriously discussed.

The challenge is how to redirect our people's energies towards pursuits that not only lead to self-fulfillment and societal improvement but also are environmentally sustainable. The planet can no longer accommodate the traditional concept of stimulating consumerism to develop the economy. This approach is not sustainable and could eventually render the Earth an unlivable place for our children, grandchildren, and future generations.

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